Essential Kitchen Equipment for New Restaurants: A Checklist

essential kitchen equipment
essential kitchen equipment

Opening a new restaurant is no walk in the park. There are lots of hurdles to bear in mind. According to recent data, one in three restaurants won’t survive its first year. To paraphrase Benjamin Franklin, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Talk to folks who have walked the walk of opening a thriving operation. Chef Andy Husbands is a great example. He’s successfully opened five locations of his Boston-based concept, The Smoke Shop. His advice is spot on.

“Use professionals. That is a business planner, an architect, a lawyer, and not your cousin. Use somebody who actually writes restaurant leases. Someone who actually designs restaurants. I know that your friend’s sister is really good at designing, but if she hasn’t designed a restaurant before, you don’t want her making mistakes on your dime.”

Obviously, there are a ton of things to consider for a new restaurant. We’re concentrating on the stuff you’ll need inside this new place, essential kitchen equipment. Specifically, equipment for prepping, cooking, storing, and cold storage. Most commercial kitchens are going to need some mix of the following:

  • Cooking Equipment
  • Cold Storage Equipment
  • Ice Maker
  • Food Prep Surfaces and Equipment
  • Storage Racks and Containers
  • Dish Washing Area

Cooking Equipment

Ovens

When you think about essential kitchen equipment, the first thing that pops into your mind is probably ovens. Commercial ovens aren’t like home ovens. They have higher power and larger capacities. And they’re designed to cook all day, every day. There are a bunch of different types of ovens, and they all come in different sizes. Calculate how much food you will prepare during a typical service to figure out what capacity you’ll need. And don’t forget to lean on your kitchen equipment designer for input.

Oven Types

Conventional Ovens are like ovens found in most homes. They use simple radiant heating elements for cooking food.

Combination ovens or combi ovens are part steamer and part convection oven. Combi ovens are versatile and powerful. They cook faster than any other type of commercial oven. But you will pay for all that speed. They can cost an arm and a leg and aren’t cheap to maintain. If you’re going with a combi, you’ll have to have a vent hood and will have to plumb it to a drain.

Some combi ovens offer lots of bells and whistles. Ask yourself whether you need those fancy features. If they’re not beneficial to your operation, why pay for them? Factor in the repair costs when those extra features break down. You’ll want to weigh the costs versus the benefits before investing in a combi.

Cook and Hold Ovens do exactly that. They cook food and then switch to a holding mode until the food’s ready to be served. They aren’t as fast as combi or retherm ovens, but they make up for that with versatility, precision, and higher food yields. CVap Cook and Hold Ovens are ideal for classic “low and slow” cooking. This boost yields, so you can get more servings from every cut or roast. More servings mean better profits. And because you’re not cooking the hell out of it, food retains more of its natural juices.  

Thermalizers are robust ovens used to reheat prepared cold or frozen foods. When it comes to food safety, time and temperature are important. The more time food spends in the temperature danger zone, the faster bacteria can grow. Thermalizers are designed to push food temps through the zone in under two hours. Winston’s CVap® Retherm Oven is a great example. These retherm ovens don’t just reheat, they are also capable of a wide range of cooking processes, from baking to roasting, to sous vide. Winston’s retherm oven can also automatically switch to hold mode at the end of the cook cycle, taking pressure off the crew.

Microwave Ovens use the same technology as microwaves found in most home kitchens. Commercial models are larger and more powerful. They’re commonly used to retherm individual portions of prepared foods. Even restaurants need to nuke stuff sometimes.

Convection ovens use powerful fans to circulate hot air around the food. This cuts down on hot spots and helps food good more evenly. Convection ovens are perfect for baking. They are fast, but they can dry food out if you’re not careful. It might take a little trial and error to dial in satisfactory results.

Sous Vide

Okay, technically, sous vide is a cooking technique. It’s French for “under vacuum.” It usually involves vacuum-sealing the product in food-grade bags and placing it in an immersion circulator. These circulators keep water at a set temperature. The laws of thermodynamics being what they are, food temperature equalizes with the water temperature. It’s a very precise cooking method. Overcooking is dang near eliminated.

sous vide cvap

Commercial immersion circulators are more powerful than home countertop models. Sous vide can be used for most meats and vegetables. It’s perfect for delicate foods, like fish. Adding spices or oils to the bag before sealing can enhance the flavor. Circulators are not fast cookers. You’ll need to plan to accommodate their slow cook time. Even commercial circulators tend to be fairly small, so you’ll need several circulators to achieve higher volume. Most circulators are placed on countertops so space may be an issue. And many localities require sous vide processes to have an approved HACCP plan, which is another expense. Don’t forget to factor in the need for a vacuum sealer and the cost and labor associated with using the bags.

CVap ovens are ideal for sous vide cooking. Their dual heat system can achieve 100 percent humidity, mirroring the effects of food cooked in an immersion circulator. Since CVap cooks with water vapor instead of a water bath, bags are optional. Additionally, CVap ovens can cook large volumes of food in a small footprint, compared to the expansive countertop space required to cook the same volume in circulators.

Ranges

There are two types of restaurant kitchen ranges – gas and electric. Both have their good and bad points.

Gas ranges utilize live flame, which offers better cooking speed and precision than electric burners. However, they can also be harder to clean.

Electric ranges provide more even cooking and easier cleanup than gas. They take longer to heat up. And utility costs are generally higher than the gas ranges.

Grills

Not every commercial kitchen requires a grill (or griddle) so this may or may not be considered essential kitchen equipment. But if your menu includes burgers, steaks, pancakes, etc., you might consider a grill. Good grills come with a flat griddle surface for making pancakes or grilling sandwiches. Like ovens, you have a choice of gas or electric.

Fryers

Commercial fryers use hot oil or shortening to deep fry products like fried chicken, fries, seafood, appetizers, etc. Smaller restaurants may get by with a countertop model. But if you anticipate serving lots of fried foods, you’ll want to consider a larger floor model.

Commercial fryers are available in gas or electric. Gas fryers tend to cook faster. Electric fryers are usually less expensive to operate. There are dozens of configurations, but they come down to two types – open or pressure. Open fryers are great for fries, seafood, and other fried appetizers. On the other hand, if you’re serving fried chicken, consider a pressure fryer. Pressure frying speeds up the cooking process and makes the final product less greasy.

 

A well-built fryer can last over 20 years (with regular maintenance). Winston’s Collectramatic® fryer line offers both open and pressure models. Winston’s fryers are strictly electric.

As you can imagine, commercial fryers do come with risks. Anything that uses hot oil to cook can be dangerous if misused. Your staff needs to be thoroughly trained on how to operate a fryer safely.

Holding Equipment

Although they aren’t technically cooking equipment, holding equipment allows you to keep hot cooked food at a safe temperature until you serve it. Holding equipment frees up the cooking equipment to allow you to keep on cooking. Some ovens, such as CVap ovens, can function as holding cabinets, offering double duty from the same footprint.

Holding cabinets are commonly available in half or full size. This gives them a capacity difference from four to 14 pans. Like with ovens, the cabinet’s efficiency depends on its technology. The cheapest are dry radiant heat. Humidified cabinets cost more but are much more effective and offer longer hold times. CVap Holding Cabinets offer the longest quality holding times in the industry.

Consider your holding needs when choosing a holding cabinet. If yours is a low-volume operation, you may not need to hold. The higher your traffic, the more likely it is that you will need it. Holding cabinets can be an important crutch to get you around staffing challenges.

Warming drawers are smaller than holding cabinets but serve the same function. They are usually on or under counters. Drawers are great in operations with limited space, like food trucks and concession areas. Because they recover quickly, drawers are a great option where the food must be accessed frequently. They usually hold one to two hotel pans, depending on the configuration. Humidified drawers are more precise than radiant heat. CVap Hold & Serve Drawers, like other CVap products, offer the best quality hold in the industry.

There are lots of other appliances available for keeping food hot. These include countertop food warmer bins, soup warmers, heat lamps, and steam tables. Think about your menu when deciding what holding solution is best for you.

Cold Storage Equipment

Freezers and Refrigerators

Another must have for any restaurant is refrigeration. Without a fridge, you can’t keep perishable food fresh. Likewise, freezers are crucial for inventory management.

Industrial-grade refrigeration units are designed to meet the requirements of foodservice operations. They are available as reach-in or walk-in units. Although walk-in fridges and freezers have more storage space, smaller restaurants may not need a walk-in.

Be familiar with the maintenance requirements of your refrigeration equipment, as it can be expensive to repair. If a faulty unit reaches unsafe temperatures, it can ruin your inventory and put customers’ health at risk.

Blast chillers are designed to cool foods quickly. The Temperature Danger Zone is as important when cooling food as it is when heating it. Simply placing hot food in a refrigerator to cool may not chill it fast enough. Blast chillers can cool large quantities of food quickly. While they aren’t necessary for every kitchen, they’re a great tool.

Ice Maker

You’ll probably need an ice maker if you’re serving any kind of beverage. Beyond icing drinks, they can also be used to fill bins for keeping canned and bottled beverages cool or as ice baths for food in hotel pans. Factors to consider when choosing an ice machine include capacity and cube shape. The ice maker should also be easy to drain and clean so that old ice or contaminants aren’t lingering in the depths of the ice.

Food Prep Equipment

Food Processors

Another essential kitchen equipment is food processors. They are great for slicing, chopping, blending, and pureeing. They’re handy for making dressings, dips, and sauces.

The more horsepower a processor has, the longer it can operate without bogging down or overheating. Likewise, the processor’s rotations per minute (RPM) affect how efficiently the blade cuts. There are a few different food processor types to consider.

Batch bowl processors are the same type most home cooks are familiar with. Staff simply choose their preferred blade, drop the food in, and collect it in the integral bowl.

Continuous-feed food processors are more of a workhorse. As the name indicates, continuous feed processors run continuously, dropping the food into a separate bowl. They are ideal for high-volume kitchens.

Buffalo choppers are among the most powerful and heavy-duty food processors. They have metal parts and sharp rotating blades sturdy enough to process meat. It’s more of a specialty item. Not every kitchen needs one.

Mixers

Most restaurant kitchens will need a commercial mixer. These are designed for frequent use.

Hand mixers are ideal for quickly blending soups and sauces, chopping up ingredients, and emulsifying dressings.

Countertop mixers work well for smaller restaurants that only need occasional mixing.

Floor mixers are ideal for high-volume commercial kitchens. These huge heavy-duty mixers stand on the floor and have the power to mix massive quantities of ingredients quickly.

Slicers

Commercial slicers are used for slicing meats and cheeses. Horsepower always indicates how long the slicer can run without overheating or bogging down. Check out the slicer’s blade kits and make sure the size works for the type of food you’ll be slicing.

Prep Surfaces and Cutting Boards

Prep tables, counters, and cutting surfaces are essential kitchen equipment. The best prep surfaces are stainless steel. Stainless is tough, doesn’t absorb bacteria, and can withstand the harsh cleaning products used in commercial kitchens.

When it comes to cutting boards, your choices are plastic or wood. Plastic boards are easier to sanitize but can develop deep grooves that can hide bacteria. Wooden boards are tougher to clean than plastic ones but don’t develop grooves as easily.

Consider adopting a color-coded system for cutting boards help prevent cross-contamination.

Storage and Containers

Storage Racks and Shelving

An organized storage shelving system streamlines your kitchen. It keeps the most-used kitchen equipment and supplies within arm’s reach. Likewise, store the stuff that’s used less frequently on the top and bottom shelves. The bottom shelf must be at least six inches off the floor to meet health codes.

Mobile storage racks are handy. They’re commonly sized to fit 20 standard sheet pans and are great for storing and transporting food.

Storage Containers

Storage containers, such as plastic bins and hotel pans, make every cook’s job easier. Pair these with good tape and markers to clearly label containers with contents and dates. It will make FIFO easier.

Dishwashing Area

Every restaurant will need a designated dishwashing area. Small operations may be able to get away with a simple triple sink setup (for washing, rinsing, and sanitizing). Larger restaurants will want to consider a commercial dishwasher, which can handle a much larger volume of dishes. As with planning in other areas of the restaurant, contemplate your anticipated need when choosing a dishwashing option. Check local health codes to see what is required for your location.

Although it’s not really part of dishwashing, having the proper number of handwashing sinks available to your staff is equally important. It’s something every health inspector will look for.

Sourcing Restaurant Equipment

It is advisable to reach out to a foodservice consultant, manufacturer’s rep, or equipment dealer to guide you, particularly if you plan to buy all-new equipment.

Buying used equipment is an option. There are caveats to buying used. While used equipment is often still in great shape, you don’t know if it’s been properly maintained or works as it should. Used equipment isn’t usually covered by the manufacturer’s warranty, so you’re fully responsible for repairs.

Begin your search with a little online investigation. Numerous large online equipment dealers can help narrow down your search. Interested in Winston’s products? Fill out our contact form. We’ll be glad to help.

The Best Practices for Oil Filtration

Best Practices for Oil Filtration

Americans love our fried foods. According to some estimates, as much as a third of the U.S. population eats fried food every day. Fried foods are fast, convenient, and dang tasty. What do all fried foods have in common? Oil. And the #1 way to keep that oil working for you is to adopt the best practices for oil filtration.

Oil (or shortening) is the muscle behind frying. A highly effective cooking medium, it quickly transfers thermal energy into food. Frying under pressure boosts that speed even further. The core truth of frying is that your food will only be as good as your oil. You could be frying the most amazing products, but if your oil is crappy, your food will be crappy. You’ve got to show your oil some love.

Best Practices for Oil Filtration

Oil isn’t cheap. It’s one of the most significant operating expenses for some operations. Adopting best practices extends oil life, allowing you to get maximum use out of every drop. Critically, the most effective way to maintain oil is by filtering. Every fryer manufacturer has its own recommended filter procedure. We’re discussing the best practices for Collectramatic® fryers.

Passive and Active Oil Filtration

Filtering takes two forms: passive and active. Both are important.

Passive filtering involves passing the oil through a filter medium to remove particulate matter. Winston’s Shortening Filter is designed specifically for use with Collectramatic Fryers. However, you may use our filter with virtually any commercial fryer. It uses paper filter material to passively filter oil. The filtering process is simple. You can view it here.

Active filtering involves using a chemical powder to polish the oil. It acts like a magnet that attracts and removes food debris and extracts soluble liquid impurities, dissolved flavorants, and odors that spoil fried food. Examples of filter powers are Fryclone and Magnesol. Although active filtering isn’t needed as frequently as passive filtering, it is equally important. Winston recommends polishing the oil at least once each day

fryer accessories
fryer accessories

How Often Should you Filter?

Collectramatic fryers have a unique design that reduces the frequency of filtering. Nonetheless, our fryers need periodic filtering to maintain high quality. How often depends on the fryer size. The six-head fryer needs filtering approximately every 20 rounds (or 360 pounds of chicken). The smaller four-head fryer needs it every 30 rounds. Or put another way, oil should be filtered after 120 heads of chicken have been cooked. And as mentioned before, we recommend polishing the oil at least once daily.

Why Bother Filtering?

It’s all a matter of taste or flavor. Anything that negatively affects the flavor of your oil will have a similar effect on the food in the fryer. Filtering removes cracklings, debris, impurities, and other materials that can spoil oil flavor. Without the best practices for oil filtration, this will happen sooner rather than later.

Oil degradation isn’t limited to cracklings and contaminants. It’s also subject to oxidation and breakdown from excessive heat. The hotter the cooking temperature, the faster oil will break down. You will replace all oil eventually, but regular filtering and polishing will enable you to maximize its lifecycle.

Of course, you always have the option of just dumping your oil and refilling with fresh oil. But then again, you can pile cash behind your building and light it on fire too. The results are the same.

Essential Equipment for Cloud Kitchens

cloud kitchen
cloud kitchen

If 2020 showed us anything it is that cloud kitchens are here to stay. Consumer habits have shifted.  For example, app services like DoorDashGrubHub, and UberEats are more popular than ever. The public’s reliance on food delivery is unlikely to fade. Thinking of starting a cloud kitchen? Consider what equipment you will need. Maximize space, efficiency, and food quality in your kitchen.

WHAT IS A CLOUD KITCHEN?

A cloud kitchen (or ghost kitchen) is a professional food preparation facility set up to prepare delivery or takeout meals only. They do not include a storefront or seating for customers. It is not a restaurant brand in itself. For instance, one kitchen space could be home to multiple brands.

Cloud kitchens can work within brick-and-mortar restaurants or function as standalone facilities. Without the overhead of a physical location, cloud kitchens can save money on property expenses, labor, and maintenance. Maximizing the functionality of this small space is important because the average cloud kitchen typically operates in just a few hundred square feet. Winston Foodservice offers three essential equipment lines that would benefit any cloud kitchen.

Winston-Foodservice-CVap-Holding
MAXIMIZE YOUR SPACE

With a limited workspace, this kind of kitchen equipment must be compact and mobile. Winston’s CVap® Cook and Hold Ovens fit the bill. For example, CVap ovens do not require a vent hood*. Vent hoods are very expensive to install and operate. Since CVap ovens don’t require hoods, they can be placed anywhere in a kitchen with sufficient power. CVap ovens are versatile and can be used for multiple cooking techniques. There are many other benefits that CVap ovens provide. Click here to learn more.

*Check local codes.

FRY, FRY AGAIN

Serving fried food? No cloud kitchen that offers fried products is complete without a good fryer. Whether you offer chicken, fish, or potato wedges, Winston’s Collectramatic® fryers are the fryers you need. Collectramatic fryers have a 50-year track record of providing trouble-free performance and consistency. They cook all day with little filtration, therefore saving you on labor and oil. They have an industry reputation for cooking superior foods. Available in open and pressure configurations, there’s a Collectramatic fryer to suit any cloud kitchen.

ghost kitchen food
LP46-Fryer-Open-Shadow
HBB5D2-Left-Shadow
KEEP IT WARM, KEEP IT FRESH

Need the accuracy of CVap holding, but limited on space? Our warming drawers are what you need. Winston offers a variety of CVap Hold and Serve Drawers. If you need to keep products crisp or moist, then you need CVap. You can place the drawers under or on top of counters for easy access. Because these drawers are available in wide or narrow configurations, you can rest assured that there’s a model that’s perfect for your space. They include single and double drawer models. Because of their versatility, you can hold a multitude of foods. Whatever you need to keep warm and fresh, from bread to soup, as well as eggs and chips, CVap has you covered. Having hot and ready food can keep deliveries flying out the door.

In conclusion, every operation is unique. Having the right equipment in your cloud kitchen will help your operation function efficiently and profitably. Our team of representatives can guide you to the best equipment to suit your individual needs. Please contact us today to learn how Winston’s products can set your kitchen up for success.

What is a Commercial Pressure Fryer?

Commercial Pressure Fryer
Collectramatic Pressure Fryers

Commercial pressure fryers are very different from household fryers or commercial open fryers.

Fried food’s appeal is universal. You can easily find fried foods anywhere. Southern fried chicken,  beer-battered fish and chips, you name it – thanks to their crispy texture, delicious flavors, and tantalizing aromas. Ultimately, that’s why many restaurants are likely to have fried products on the menu.

If you want to add fried foods to your menu, or are looking to replace existing frying equipment, read on to learn why you should consider a commercial pressure fryer (and specifically, a Collectramatic® Pressure Fryer).

As the name suggests, commercial pressure fryers rely on pressure cooking techniques. Cooking oil cooks food within an enclosed cooking vessel. Once food products are loaded into the fryer, a lid is latched down, creating an air-tight seal. Consequently, as food cooks, it produces steam. Steam builds pressure within the fryer. It is this pressure that speeds the cooking process.

Naturally, the key difference between open (or deep) fryers and commercial pressure fryers is the enclosed pressurized environment. This makes a dramatic difference in the food’s cooking temperature, cooking duration, and the quality and consistency of the end product.

The Science Behind Pressure Frying

Want to know why foods cooked in a pressure fryer are so much tastier than their open-fried counterparts? Curious about why pressure frying is so much more efficient?

  1. The pressure built up in the enclosed fryer increases the boiling point of water. This means water exceeds 212°F before turning to steam. Because of that, most of the food’s liquids that would have been evaporated at a lower boiling point in an open fryer are retained as internal moisture, resulting in a much juicer end product.
  2. Pressure build-up internally also helps increase the overall temperature of the steam inside the fryer, allowing the food to cook faster. Similarly, pressure cookers also maintain the same temperatures and pressures with every batch, ensuring consistency across all batches. In contrast, open frying lacks consistency, as temperatures can be easily affected by the environment.

Check out this fun video for a basic explanation of pressure frying.

Why Should You Get a Pressure Fryer for Your Commercial Kitchen?

Still undecided on whether a pressure fryer is right for your restaurant?
Read on to learn why many operators have opted to invest in this equipment.

Faster Cook Times

During rush periods, there is no time to lose. Food has to be out of the kitchen as quickly as possible. You do not want an open fryer slowing service.

The good news is that commercial pressure fryers cook much faster, allowing you to speed up your production and serve more customers.

Better and More Consistent Flavor

Any operator will tell you that flavor and consistency are key to customer satisfaction. While that is not easily achieved,  pressure fryers can help you get it right every time. This is thanks to its heating and pressure systems, and computerized programming. Serving consistently juicy, crispy fried foods in every batch is made easy.

Healthier

Calling fried foods healthy sounds like a stretch. However, it is essential to note that pressure frying is a healthier cooking method than other high-volume fryers. Pressure frying heats food’s internal moisture and uses that moisture to cook from within. This creates vapor pressure within the food product. This pressure, pushing outward from the food’s interior, helps prevent oil from soaking into the food, ultimately lowering the amount of fat absorbed into the product, as compared to open frying.

Cost-Effective

Certainly, oil reduction is not just a health benefit. On the other hand, it is also a significant cost-benefit. Using less oil and the maintaining oil quality for longer periods helps save on oil consumption overall. Similarly, faster cooking times also help to lower energy consumption. How’s that for cost-effective?

Convinced of the benefits that a pressure fryer can bring to your operation? The next step is to find a suitable fryer. When it comes to an important investment like this, there are several key areas you need to note. We, of course, recommend our Collectramatic Pressure Fryers.

Features

Certain features enhance the effectiveness of pressure fryers. Look for features that help your team reduce their workload.

Winston’s Collectramatic LP56 High-Efficiency Pressure Fryer include the following features:

  • The patented cold zone uses gravity filtration to prevent cracklings from scorching and ruining your oil. This allows up to 360 lbs. of chicken (or other food products) to be fried between filtrations.
  • 6-head capacity (or 18 lbs. of food product)
  • 75 lbs. shortening (or oil) capacity
  • 8 preprogrammed (and programable) channels
  • Choice of clamshell or quarter-rack basket systems. Quarter-rack systems minimize tonging and handling of chicken. Shelves can be moved from basket to sheet pan without tonging each piece individually.
  • Built-in safety features, such as an automatic shutoff if the fryer gets too hot (over 410°F), and an alarm that automatically disengages the heaters if they are inadvertently allowed to be exposed to air.

Add a Winston Shortening Filter to get the most from your Winston fryer. The filter is built for mobility. Consequently, you can use a single filter unit to service multiple fryers.

foodservice products Collectramatic LP46 Pressure Fryer foodservice products

The Most Trusted Brand

Winston offers commercial fryers in both pressure and open configurations. Check out their entire fryer product line here.

For over 50 years, Collectramatic Fryers have been leaders in the foodservice industry. Originally designed for Harland Sanders (yes, Colonel Sanders), they’re a reliable workhorse. Built with only a few moving parts, they last for decades (with regular care and maintenance, of course). Simple to operate, clean, and maintain, Collectramatic fryers will keep you frying, and keep your customers happy and fed.

Five Things to Know When Purchasing a Commercial Fryer

Chicken is a customer favorite. According to the National Chicken Council, Americans now consume nearly 100 pounds per capita annually. Customers consume more chicken than beef or pork every year. This is why operators should make serving the best chicken a priority. Offering this customer favorite comes with a few “need to knows” that every foodservice professional should consider before purchasing a fryer.

1. Pressure fryers produce better chicken (and cost less to operate).
  • Collectramatic Pressure Fryers consistently produce tastier chicken. The fryer design makes a difference in food quality. Expert operators have told us how they can taste the difference between chicken cooked in a Collectramatic fryer and other pressure fryers.
  • In pressure fryers, a pressurized bubble forms around chicken, trapping in natural juices, nutrients, and flavor. There is minimal flavor transfer, and chicken cooks faster than in open fryers. The frying process decreases wait times, while producing consistently good chicken.
  • Collectramatic Pressure Fryers typically cost less to operate. The TCO on these fryers is low, offsetting up-front costs. Pressure fryers cook chicken at a lower temperature than open fryers, requiring less energy over the life of the fryer. Lower temperatures also extend shortening life.
2. Open fryers make good chicken too.
  • If a pressure fryer is not an option, commercial open fryers produce delicious chicken as well. There are many different commercial open fryers. Collectramatic Open Fryers, like the OF59C, are made for high-volume operations. Chicken isn’t the only delicious fried food. Some food products, like jalapeno poppers or butterfly shrimp, are best when open fried.
3. Programmable presets are important.
  • When purchasing a commercial fryer, operators should look for fryers with programmable presets. These presets ensure a consistently high-quality product and reduce the amount of training and labor. Look for units with enough storage channels to add future presets to accommodate menu changes.
4. Clean oil is an essential part of producing good chicken.
  • Oil (or shortening) is a factor to consider during the buying process and daily operations. Clean oil produces better chicken. Collectramatic fryers use simple gravity filtration to keep oil fresh longer, extending the length of time between mechanical filtrations.
  • Oil starts to break down when cooking temperatures exceed 360°F. For that reason, Collectramatic fryers have a maximum temperature of 360°F. Most cook cycles involve settings lower than this temperature. When oil breaks down, it should be filtered promptly to ensure a quality, consistent product. Oil life can also be extended by maintaining a consistent level and avoiding overfilling cookpots.
5. It’s important to keep chicken fresh and at a correct hot temperature before serving.
  • For some operations, serving quality chicken only concerns frying, because the product is immediately served. Other operations require a heated merchandiser or holding cabinet that keeps chicken at the correct safe temperature. One of Winston’s other product lines is CVap® holding and cooking equipment. CVap Holding Cabinets are particularly well-suited for holding fried chicken. CVap’s unique dual-heat system keeps chicken hot and just-cooked fresh for extended periods. This helps you power through rush periods with minimal delays and no sacrifice in food quality.

Why Choose Winston Collectramatic Pressure Fryers?

commercial pressure fryer

American-built Quality

Winston manufacturers all our fryers and controls in our Louisville, Kentucky headquarters/ We don’t rely on third-party vendors. Rigorous engineering and testing assure that each fryer we sell is built to the highest quality standards. Our experienced, dedicated workforce build pride into every product we ship.

repair

We Make Life Easy for Servicers

No matter what brand of commercial fryer you choose, at some point it will need to be serviced by a skilled technician. Collectramatic Pressure Fryers are well known in the industry as being easy to work on. So, when the time comes for maintenance, your technician will thank you.

collectramatic

Smaller Footprint

Bulky cooking appliances that take up too much space in your commercial kitchen cause problems – safety concerns, workflow disruptions, and frustration, to name a few.

Collectramatic Pressure Fryers have a well-engineered, compact design with a smaller overall footprint than our competitors, to help alleviate these issues. They offer more production from a smaller footprint.

collectramatic cookpot

Round Cookpot Offers Consistent Cooking

Say goodbye to cold spots or undercooked chicken. Our commercial pressure fryers feature a round cookpot. Since there are no corners, heat is evenly distributed. This produces chicken that is crispy on the outside, juicy on the inside, every time. Cylindrical cookpots have a big advantage over square fryers when it comes to durability. Because pressure is distributed evenly throughout the cookpot, there are no corners to stress and eventually fail.

Contact Winston Foodservice Today

For over 50 years, Winston has provided reliable equipment to help foodservice operators meet the growing demands of their customers. Our sales team and global network of sales representatives are happy to consult with you and help you figure out the best equipment to meet your goals.

Fill out a contact form, or call 800-234-5286 to speak with a member of our team.

Deep Fried Turkey

fried turkey with pecan honey glaze

I have wanted to deep fry a turkey since I took on the role of Corporate Research Chef here at Winston. You see, Winston was built on pressure fryers. For example, the company’s first product was the Collectramatic® Fryer, designed for Colonel Sanders himself. I’m happy to have had the experience!

Cooking a turkey is a production, no matter what the cooking method. From hauling the turkeys in from the grocery to picking the carcass and ensuring all that hard work is appreciated. However, it typically only happens once a year, for a special occasion. So we can justify the extra work, and expense, and clean up. Certainly, this is a monumental task if you’re doing it in an outside fryer at home. On the other hand, a commercial kitchen is much more conducive to this work!

fried turkey fixins

Settings and Procedures:

Products:

Note: It is critical that turkeys be completely thawed. Placing a frozen bird into hot oil can cause a major flash fire. For obvious reasons, this should be avoided!

Pressure Fried Procedure – 2 Smaller Turkeys:

  • Set up the Collectramatic Fryer Program and Preheat:
    • Total Fry Time: 50 Minutes
    • 1 Step @ 350°F for 10 Minutes – Pressure
    • 2 Step @ 276°F for 40 Minutes – Pressure
    • 3 Step @ 276°F for 0 Minutes – Open
  • Remove the turkey from ALL packaging,  and any “extra” turkey parts (i.e.; pop-up timer, plastic binder, neck piece, and parchment-wrapped offal (giblets, liver, and heart)). You don’t want these “extras” to be immersed in hot oil.
  • Place turkey in a pan while the fryer is heating. Dab off any excess moisture on the outside.
    • Hold turkey up and allow the internal cavity to drain off any excess water. The goal is for the turkey to be as dry as possible before immersing in hot oil.
  • When ready, transfer turkey to open basket and with gloved hands, lower the basket into the Collectramatic, close and lock the lid. Next, hit the program channel to start the timer.
  • Once finished, hook the basket, and allow to drain for a couple of minutes before transferring to another landing pad. Finally, allow to drain a few more minutes, until final presentation and slicing to serve.

Notethe 10 to 14lbs turkey is the largest whole bird you can fry in the Collectramatic. Consequently, anything larger will be a sizing challenge. BUT there’s another way to address these larger birds.

raw-turkey-on-table
drying the bird
lower the bird in the basket
caged bird

CVap Staging

  • Set up the CVap – either CHV or RTV. We used the RTV7-05UV:
    • Cook Time: 2.5-3 Hours
    • Vapor Temp – Cook: 190°F
    • Air Temp – Cook: 200°F
  • While the CVap oven is preheating, address Big Bird:
    • Remove the turkey from ALL packaging, and any “extra” turkey parts (i.e.; pop-up timer, plastic binder, neck piece, and parchment-wrapped offal (giblets, liver, and heart)).
    • Begin by spatchcocking the turkey. Next, cut equally in half, add each half to a hotel pan
  • Place both pans in heated CVap oven and start the cook cycle.
    • Keep tabs on the internal temperature of the turkey after cooking for an hour or so. If you’re using a Series 7 oven, a food temp probe is great option. Otherwise, use an accurate thermometer.
    • You’re looking for an internal temp at or greater than 165°F, measured at three separate sites, per FoodSafety.Gov “the innermost part of the thigh, wing and thickest part of the breast.”
    • At these settings, it should take between 2.5 – 3 hours.

Deep Frying Procedure – Larger Turkey (Open Fry)

  • Set up the Collectramatic Fryer Program and preheat (towards the last 30 minutes on CVap cook cycle):
    • Set to Open Fry @ 350°F
  • Remove the staged turkey from the oven.
    • There will be a good amount of residual cooking liquid (+/- 2 cups or so from each pan). You can discard, or reserve to make gravy that is da bomb.
    • Transfer the halved turkey to a dry spot and dab with a dry towel if any excess moisture is noticed.
    • Next, use a knife to quarter the turkey. Allow draining a bit more before moving to the open baskets for frying.
    • Open Fry @ 350°F for 7-10 minutes.
  • Once finished, hook the basket, and allow to drain for a couple of minutes before transferring to another landing pad. Finally, allow to drain a few more minutes, until final presentation and slicing to serve. 
Cutting up the bird
staging in the oven
lowering basket for fried turkey
fried turkey draining

Final Words and Fancy Glazes

Pressure-fried turkeys had a golden crisp skin, moist meat, and an impressive presentation. On the other hand, staged and deep-fried turkeys were just a golden, but the skin was even more crispy, and the meat was more tender and moist. The final presentation was just as beautiful. Ultimately, either way was a delicious success! 

Serving with a sauce? Try this simple recipe for Honey Butter Pecan Glaze:

  • 1 cup Honey
  • ¾ cup Butter, unsalted
  • 1 cup Pecans, rough chops (we used roasted & salted)

Heat honey and allow to boil for about a minute. Next, reduce heat to barely a simmer while whisking in the butter, a few pats at a time, until incorporated.

Add the nuts and bring to a boil one last time for about another minute. Finally, remove from heat and allow to cool and thicken a bit before glazing turkey or serve on the side…so good!

Pouring Honey
simmering sauce
bubbling butter
fried turkey with honey pecan glaze
chef samantha brown

About the Author

Corporate Research Chef Samantha Brown carries dual degrees. One is from Sullivan University, in Culinary Arts. The other, in Food Science, is from the University of Kentucky. Chef Sam has years of foodservice and product development experience.

Fun Fact – Chef Sam was featured in an episode of Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives with host Guy Fieri (Farm to Table, episode 909).

Chicken & Waffles – Damn It’s Good

chicken and waffles

On a recent quiet Friday afternoon, we cooked up a favorite dish – Fried Chicken and Waffles. This sweet and savory dish is increasingly popular, but has been around (in some variation) for hundreds of years. The familiar soul food version dates from the Wells Supper Club in Harlem, New York, in 1938. In order to really push this cardiac-busting meal over the top, we added a side of tater tots.

We utilized several pieces of our equipment. Our Collectramatic Fryers are famous for making the world’s best chicken, so that was a no-brainer.

Although our fryers were engineered specifically to cook chicken, you can cook other stuff in them too. In this case, a tasty side of tater tots.

Chicken and Waffles and Tots, Oh My

The Process – Chicken

The fryer was programmed for chicken strips/filets (for full details on those settings, see the guidelines in the Fryer Owner’s Manual, page 20). As the fryer preheated, we prepared the chicken.

Starting with several whole boneless, skinless chicken breasts, we trimmed the fat and cut into ¾” wide strips. The chicken strips marinated for about 30 minutes in smoked pickle juice. It’s a well-known secret that pickle brine is the special je ne sais quoi that gives Chick-Fil-A’s chicken its addictive flavor. We aimed for a similar flavor profile.

trimming the chicken
Brining the chicken

After marinading, the strips were ready for breading. The breading was a blend of seasoned flour, salt, and a little Dan-O’s Original Seasoning. To properly bread, we used a four-pass dredge.

  1. Pickle Juice
  2. Seasoned Flour
  3. Pickle Juice
  4. Seasoned Flour

These were cooked under pressure, in a clamshell basket.

The Process – Tots

Tater tots hit the fryer next. These were cooked open, in a clamshell basket. They cooked in about five minutes at 325°F. The results were perfect.

The tots took a little trial and error. We initially cooked a batch in an open basket. Though the tots came out perfectly cooked, the lack of separation caused them to stick together. The resulting mass was about the size of a human head. This was fine for an informal afternoon cooking session, but wouldn’t have been ideal to serve to customers. 

Unable to resist them, Marketing Manager Ryan consumed roughly half of the tater tot ball. Blessed with the metabolism of a hummingbird, he constantly “tested” the tots to verify that, yes, they still tasted great.

Tots
waffles in CVap

The Process – Waffles

The waffles were of the frozen variety. We went CVap on those, retherming them in an RTV Retherm Oven, then moving them into an HOV Holding Cabinet while we prepped stuff for the fryer.

The frozen waffles were quick and easy to prep. The RTV oven was preheated to 200°F Vapor, 325°F air temp. After a quick seven minutes, they were done. We moved them to the HOV holding cabinet (preheated to 100°F vapor temp, 150°F air temp). They stayed hot and fresh until we were ready to assemble.

The Results

The final assembled dish was simple, easy, and delicious. The chicken strips were placed on the bed of waffles, and dribbled with maple syrup (the real stuff, not that fake high fructose crap). A generous side of tots completed the dish.

We had to taste the results. They were, of course, delicious.

What the Turducken!

Turducken

Holidays are a time for tradition. We decided it was start a new one. We cooked the infamous turducken. In case you aren’t familiar, that’s a portmanteau word that describes the recipe which combines turkey, duck, and chicken all rolled into one. Sound too good to be true? Honestly, we thought so too!

This isn’t a task to take on unless you are fully committed to the challenge. Patience is your friend while preparing the turducken.

Process

Debone the birds– turkey, chicken, and duck. We did this the day before to save time. Depending on your expertise, this can take from 45 to 90 minutes.

turducken birds still have their bones
turducken birds sans bones
Chopped Vegetables

Stuffing is placed between each meat layer. Feel free to put your own spin on the stuffing. We also made a double batch for each turkey to ensure we had enough for each layer.

  • Stuffing mix of your choice (we used corn bread)
  • Celery
  • Onion
  • Chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
  • Fresh parsley
  • Fresh sage
  • Minced garlic
  • Paprika
  • Pepper
  • Salt

Now for the Turducken!

  • Season each piece of meat with salt and pepper.
  • Lay turkey out flat so it’s ready for the stuffing.
  • Pat the first layer of stuffing on the turkey.
layering stuffing into the turducken
  • Place chicken thighs on top half of turkey, and chicken breasts on the lower half.
adding another layer to the turducken
  • Pat a second layer of stuffing on top of the turkey-chicken combo.
Minced Meat
  • Place the duck in the middle of the stuffing layer.
  • Add the last layer of stuffing.
folding up the turducken
folding up the turducken more
stitching the turducken
skewering the turducken
sealed turducken
  • Begin pulling up sides of turkey to secure everything inside with twine or skewers.
  • Season outside of turkey – we used paprika, salt, and pepper.
seasoned turduckens

Settings

We doubled up and made two turduckens. One was cooked using a CVap® Cook and Hold Oven.  The other was staged in the CVap oven and then fried in a Collectramatic®  Pressure Fryer.

The roasted turducken was cooked on high yield at 170°F doneness and 4 level browning (new CVap 170°F Vapor Temp/200°F Air Temp) for six hours, then held overnight for eight hours at 150°F doneness and 1 level browning (new CVap 150°F Vapor Temp/155°F Air Temp).

The staged and fried turducken was staged at 165°F and 0 browning (new CVap 165°F Vapor and Air Temp) overnight for 14 hours and then finished in the fryer for three minutes.

Roasted Turducken –82% yield

roasted turducken
roasted turducken interior

Staged & Fried Turducken– 84% yield

fried turducken
fried turducken
fried turducken interior